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FORREST IN TENNESSEE.
· Sept. 1864.
Let us now see what was occurring in Tennessee and on its southern borders, from the time when Sherman captured Atlanta until his arrival at Savannah.
We have observed that Hood, late in September, crossed the Chattahoochee, and began operations against Sherman's communications. Meanwhile, and in co-operation with Hood (whose chief objective was evidently Nashville), Forrest, the bold and active cavalry leader, who had been in Northern Alabama for several weeks keeping re-enforcements from joining Sherman from the Mississippi, proceeded to prepare the way for an invasion of Ten
He crossed the Tennessee River near Waterloo, and on
the 25th, appeared before Athens, in Northern Alabama, with a force of light cavalry, about seven thousand strong, and invested it. He opened a 12-pounder battery on the town, and twice demanded its surrender. It was refused, but finally, at a personal interview between Forrest and Colonel Campbell, the commander of the little garrison of six hundred negro troops, the latter was persuaded to surrender the post. Re-enforcements sufficient to hold the place (the Eighth Michigan and One Hundred and Second Ohio), came up half an hour afterward, and, with the garrison, became prisoners of war, after a sharp contest.
Flushed with his victory, Forrest pushed on northward to Pulaski, in Tennessee, destroying the railway as he moved, and capturing a fortified post, at Sulphur Branch Trestle, on the way. He found Pulaski too strong for him. General Rousseau was there, and made the assailants cautious. After
sharp skirmishing the greater part of a day, Forrest withdrew, and
marched eastward, toward the Chattanooga railway, with his whole force. He struck it between Tullahoma and Decherd, but had scarcely begun its destruction, when he was confronted by Rousseau, who had hastened by railway, around by Nashville, and reached Tullahoma, while General Steedman, who had crossed the Tennessee from Northern Georgia, was coming up rapidly from the southwest with five thousand troops. At the same time, General Morgan's division of the Fourteenth Corps was hastening into Tennessee for the same purpose. These combined forces drove Forrest from the railway before he had damaged it much, when he retraced his steps to Fayetteville, the termination of a railroad from Decherd. There he divided his forces, giving Buford, his second in command, four thousand of them, and reserving three thousand for himself. Buford went directly south, threatened Huntsville, and again attacked Athens, which General Granger, in command at Franklin, had re-garrisoned with the
Seventy-third Indiana, Lieutenant-Colonel Slade. For a part of
two days, Buford tried to carry the place, when he was effectually repulsed, and sought safety'by flight across the Tennessee, at Brown's
¢ Oct. 2-3
Forrest, in the mean time, had pushed on to Columbia, on the Duck River, with his three thousand horsemen, but did not attack that place, for Rousseau was coming down from Nashville with four thousand mounted
At the same time, General C. C. Washburne, with four thousand fire hundred men (three thousand of them cavalry), was moving up the Tennes
1 See page 896.
HOOD IN FRONT OF DECATUR.
• Oct. 6,
see on steamers to assist in capturing the invaders, while Lieutenant-Commander Forrest was patroling that stream in Northern Alabama, with several gun-boats, to intercept them should they fly southward. Generals Rousseau, Steedman, Morgan, Washburne and Croxton, were now (under the direction of General Thomas, who had arrived at Nashville on the 3d of October) joined in the grand hunt for Forrest. The latter, looking out from Columbia, saw his peril, and met it as usual. Paroling the thousand prisoners he had captured, he destroyed five miles of the railroad southward from the Duck River, and then pushing across the country by way of Mount Pleasant and Lawrenceburg, he escaped over the Tennessee a at Bainbridge, with very little loss. While these operations were going
THOMAS'S HEAD-QUARTERS. 1 on in Tennessee and Northern Alabama, the movements of Hood against Sherman's communications northward of the Chattahoochee, already considered,' were begun. To watch and meet Hood's troops, as his plans might be developed, Thomas ordered Croxton's cavalry brigade to patrol the line of the Tennessee River, from Decatur to Eastport. Morgan's division was moved from Athens to Chattanooga, and Rousseau's troops were concentrated at the latter place. Steedman's division was moved from Decatur to Bridgeport.
We have already considered the movements of Sherman and Hood, until late in October, when the latter went over the Sand Mountains, westward, and threatened Decatur, and the former gave up the pursuit of his antagonist in the beautiful Chatooga Valley. At that point of time and circumstance, we will resume the narrative of the movements of Hood.
Decatur was an important place in connection with military movements at that time. The railway from Nashville on the north there crossed the Tennessee River, and met the one extending westward to Memphis, and eastward to Chattanooga. There General Granger was stationed with a considerable force, when Hood approached on the 26th of October, sat down before it, established a line of rifle-pits within five hundred yards of the National lines, cast up intrenchments, and threatened an assault. Two days afterward, some of Granger's troops made a sortie, gained the rear of the left of Hood's rifle-pits, drove out the occupants and captured two hundred
On the same day a regiment of negro troops, led by Colonel Morgan, captured one of Hood’s batteries and spiked the guns; and on the following day, the third of the siege (which was only a feint to cover
Oct. 29. preparations for a more important movement), it was abandoned, and Hood went westward to Tuscumbia. That important move
1 This is a view of the fine mansion of Mr. Cunningham, 15 High Street, Nashville, occupied by Generals Buell and Thomas, and other commanders, in that city. 2 See page 897.
3 See page 899. VOL. III.-105
FORREST HELPING HOOD.
. Oct. 31,
ment was the passage of the Tennessee River by Hood's army, a part of
which crossed it at the mouth of Cyprus Creek,“ not far from Florence, in the face of strong opposition from Croxton's brigade,
which was pressed back to the east bank of Shoal Creek. It was now evident that Hood intended to advance into Middle TennesGeneral Hatch was ordered to move, with his cavalry division, from
Clifton, to the support of Croxton; and, as we have seen, the Twentythird Corps, under General Schofield, was directed to report to General Thomas, to whom was given full control of all the troops in the Military Division of the Mississippi, excepting those which were to accompany Sherman.'
General Thomas J. Wood's division of the Fourth Corps reached Athens on the 31st, closely followed by the other divisions, when Stanley, the commander of the corps, concentrated his whole force at Pulaski.
In the mean time, Forrest had
turned his face northward again, and was busy in aiding Hood. Leaving Corinth, he pushed up through Tennessee with a heavy mounted force and nine guns, and struck the Tennessee River opposite Johnsonville, in Stewart County, which was connected with Nashville by railway. This was an important depot of supplies for Nashville, and these Forrest came to destroy. They were guarded by one thousand negro troops under Colonel C. R. Thompson, and three gun-boats, commanded by Lieutenant E. M. King. Forrest opened his guns upon the
post, and after several days' sharp contest, he withdrew' on hearing of the approach of Schofield, with his corps, from Nashville, by railway. Forrest's work was accomplished, but by other
hands. In a conflict with the gun-boats, he had so far won a victory, that it was feared they would fall into his hands. So, just before the appearance of Schofield, they and the transports were set on fire. The flames communicated to the storehouses on the shore, and commissaries' and quartermasters' stores, valued at a million and a half of dollars, were destroyed. Finding no enemy at Johnsonville, Schofield left Ruger's division as a garrison at that post, and, with the rest of his troops, marched to Pulaski and assumed command of all the forces there.
At this time, Thomas's effective force, under Schofield, confronting Hood, was only about thirty thousand men,” while his antagonist, just re-enforced
THOMAS J. WOOD.
• Oct, 28.
1 See page 400.
? These consisted of the Fourth Corps, under Stanley, 12,000, and the Twenty-third Corps, 10,000, which made the total of infantry and artillery, 22,000. The division commanders were Generals N. Kimball, G. A. Wagner, T. J. Wood, of the Fourth Corps, and T. H. Ruger and J. D. Cox, of the Twenty-third Corps. The cavalry, 7,700 in number, was commanded by General J. H. Wilson, assisted by Brigadier-Generals Edward Hatch, R. W. Johnson, and J. H. Hammond. Co-operating with these troops, then concentrated at Pulaski, were the cavalry brigades of Generals Croxton and Capron, the former numbering about 2,500 men, and the latter about 1,200.
. Nov. 17,
1861. Nov. 22.
by a part of General Taylor's army at Mobile, had about fifty-five thousand men.' Thomas had twenty-five or thirty thousand other men under his command, holding widely separated but important posts, which prudence forbade him to concentrate. So he resolved to keep as strong as possible in front of Hood, if he should advance, and falling slowly back toward Nashville, avoid battle until sufficiently strengthened to promise success in a conflict. Fortunately, Hood lingered on the bank of the Tennessee until past the middle of November; for, while Sherman remained north of the Chattahoochee, he was not sure that active leader might not suddenly appear upon his rear.
But when, at length, intelligence came that he had severed all communications with the North and turned his face toward the
Hood threw the remainder of his army over the Tennessee" on a pontoon bridge at Florence, and two days afterward, moved on parallel roads in the direction of Nashville, through Waynesboro' and Lawrenceburg, driving General Hatch from the latter place.
Thomas had hoped to meet Hood in battle south of Duck River, but the two divisions under General A. J. Smith, coming from Missouri,? had not arrived, and he did not feel well prepared to do so, when his adversary moved; so he ordered Schofield to fall back to Columbia. He did so in good order, while Capron's brigade at Mount Pleasant covered all flank approaches from that direction. Schofield withdrew Ruger's division from Johnsonville, and on the 24th of November his forces were concentrated at Columbia.
In the mean time General Granger had withdrawn the garrisons at Athens, Decatur, and Huntsville, and returned to Stevenson, from which he sent five fresh regiments to Murfreesboro'. The officer left in command at Johnsonville was ordered to remove the property there across to the Cumberland at Fort Donelson, and, with it and the garrison, take post at Clarksville.
Hood moved promptly to Pulaski, and pushed on toward Columbia, but showed no disposition to attack Schofield in front of that town. But he made movements so indicative of an intention to cross Duck River on one or both of Schofield's flanks, that the latter withdrewe to the north side of the stream, and sent his trains toward Nashville. Then, informed that Hood had crossed the river six miles above Columbia, he ordered Stanley to follow his trains to Spring Hill. The command was promptly executed just in time to save them from Forrest's cavalry, hovering near, and which Stanley drove off just as they were about to pounce upon the wagons and their guard. Stanley was speedily attacked by a very strong force of horse and foot, which he fought until night fell, and, though with great difficulty, he firmly held the road over which the retreating army was to pass.
On that day' Schofield had been continually employed in keeping the Confederates from crossing the Duck River at
• Nov. 27-28.
1 Hooil's army was composed of about 42,000 infantry and artillery, and 13,000 cavalry, many of whom were Kentuckians and Tennesseeans, jubilant with the idea that they were about to expel the invader from their pative soil. They had great confidence in their dashing leader, and were in high spirits. Hood's army was armynged in three divisions, commanded respectively by Generals B. F. Cheatham, A. P. Stewart, and S. D. Lee. The division cornmanders were as follows: Cheatham's corps—Generals P. R. Cleburne, Jas. C. Brown, and W. B. Bate. Stewart's--W. W. Loring, 8. G. French, E. C. Walthall. Lec's-C. L. Stevenson, E. Johnson, and Clayton. Forrest commanded the cavalry. His division commanders were Generals W. Jackson, A. Buford, and J. R. Chalmers.
? See page 280.
SCHOFIELD RETREATS ON NASIIVILLE.
Columbia, driving them back, with great loss on their side, whenever they advanced. When, late in the afternoon, he heard of Stanley's peril, he took Ruger's division, and hastened to his support, leaying orders for the re. mainder of his force to follow. He encountered some detachments of cavalry on the way, and when he arrived at Spring Hill, he found the main body of the Confederates bivouacked within half a mile of the road ovei which his army must pass. He left them undisturbed. His troops passed by at midnight, and pushed on northward, closely pursued, and sometimes severely pressed after the day dawned. Hour after hour skirmishing went on,
while the patriots gradually moved northward during that day Nov. 30, and night, and early the following morning they were in a
strong position at Franklin, on the Harpeth River, where som, stirring events had occurred the previous year. There Schofield halted
on the southern edge of the village, in order that his trains, then choking the road for miles, might be taken across the Harpeth and put well on their way toward Nashville, eighteen miles distant. It was better to give battle there, with this encumbrance out of the way, than to be compelled to fight, as he doubtless would that day or the next, with his trains close at hand.
Schofield was satisfied that his SCHOFIELD'S IIEAD-QUARTERS.
foes were concentrated directly in his rear; for his cavalry, following the Lewisburg pike several miles eastward of his line of march, had encountered no enemy. He disposed his troops accordingly in a curved line south and west of the town, the flanks resting on the Harpeth ; and then cast up a line of slight intrenchments along their entire front. The cavalry, with the Third Division of the Fourth Corps (Wood's), were posted on the north bank of the river, and Fort Granger, on a bluff, commanded the gently rolling plain over which Hood must advance in a direct attack. Within the entire lines around Franklin, Schofield had not to exceed eighteen thousand men, when Hood, at four
o'clock in the afternoon, came up with all his force, and assailed
the Nationals, with the intention and expectation of crushing them with one heavy blow. He had assured his soldiers that, if they should break through Schofield's line, they would disperse or destroy his army, capture his trains, drive Thomas out of Tennessee and might march on, without opposition, to the Ohio River.
Hlood had formed his columns for attack behind a line of dense woods ; Stewart on his right, next the Harpeth, Cheatham on his left, and Lee in the rear, in reserve. A greater part of his cavalry, led by Forrest, was on his right, and the remainder were on his left. Thus prepared, the Confederates
1 See page 118.
Schofield's head-quarters were at the house of Dr. D. B. Cliffe, on Main Street, in the village of Franklin That village was the capital of Williamson County, Tennessee, and was situated in a bend of the Harpeth River, which formed two sides of a square, with a sharp curve at the angle, as seen in the map on page 421.
3 See page 118.